Hookworm disease is an intestinal parasite that infects dogs and cats. It is transmitted by the bite of certain species of parasitic worms called hookworms. These parasites live in the soil and attach themselves to the skin of animals that pass through the contaminated ground.
When the animal passes through the same area again, the worm attaches itself to the new host and begins its life cycle. The adult worm then burrows into the dog’s intestine where it lays eggs. The eggs hatch and the larvae enter the bloodstream. Once inside the blood stream, the larvae travel to the lungs where they mature before entering the body cavity.
There, they migrate to the small intestines where they begin their development as adults. Dogs become infected when they eat food containing the feces of an infected cat or dog. Hookworm infection causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, weakness, and fever. Infected puppies usually die within two weeks of being diagnosed.
How do I prevent my puppy from getting hookworm?
Preventing your puppy from getting hookworm requires you to keep him away from the dirt. You should also make sure he has regular worming treatments. This will help control the number of hookworm larvae in his system. If you have a large yard, you might want to consider digging a trench around the perimeter of the property. This will protect your puppy from the contaminated ground.
What are the symptoms of hookworm disease?
The most common symptom of hookworm disease is bloody diarrhea. Other signs include loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, coughing, and vomiting. In some cases, puppies develop a cough accompanied by high-pitched wheezing. They may also experience seizures.
How long does it take for a puppy to show symptoms of hookworm disease after exposure?
Puppies exposed to hookworm larvae develop symptoms between one and three months later. Symptoms typically appear about four to six weeks after exposure.
Is there any treatment available for hookworm disease?
Yes. Your veterinarian can prescribe medication that kills the hookworm larvae. He may also recommend deworming medications that kill the adult worms.
Can I give my puppy medicine for hookworm disease? What kind of medicine is safe for a puppy?
Your vet can prescribe medicine that controls the hookworm larvae. However, this type of medicine is not recommended for puppies because it could cause serious side effects such as liver damage. Instead, your vet will probably recommend a dewormer that treats both the hookworm larvae and the adult worms. The safest type of medicine for puppies is one that contains pyrantel embonate (PYR). Pyrantel embonate is a combination product that includes piperazine citrate, which helps break down the shell of the hookworm larva so that the drug can penetrate the cell wall. PYR is safe for puppies.
How often should I deworm my puppy?
You should deworm your puppy at least once a month starting when he is eight to ten weeks old. After this time, you should deworm him every two to three weeks until he is 12 to 16 weeks old. Then, you should deworm your puppy monthly until he reaches adulthood.